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Tom Petty Confirmed Dead: Daughter and Family Spokesman

Larry Busacca, Getty Images
Larry Busacca, Getty Images

A family spokesman has confirmed the death of Tom Petty at age 66, following a day spent clinging to life. Various news outlets reported his death, only to retract those same headlines, as he fought to overcome an apparent heart attack on Monday.

“On behalf of the Tom Petty family, we are devastated to announce the untimely death of of our father, husband, brother, leader and friend Tom Petty,” Tony Dimitriades, longtime manager of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, told the Los Angeles Times. “He suffered cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu in the early hours of this morning and was taken to UCLA Medical Center but could not be revived. He died peacefully at 8:40 p.m. PT surrounded by family, his bandmates and friends.”

Annakim Violette, Petty’s 35-year-old daughter by first wife Jane Benyo, also paid tribute on Instagram.


A post shared by @inviteloveinvitelove on

CBS initially confirmed the news, but later was forced to issue a correction when TMZ countered that Petty was still alive. “Sources tell us at 10:30 Monday morning a chaplain was called to Tom’s hospital room,” TMZ said. “We’re told the family has a do not resuscitate order on Tom. The singer is not expected to live throughout the day, but he’s still clinging to life. A report that the LAPD confirmed the singer’s death is inaccurate — the L.A. County Sheriff’s Dept. handled the emergency.”

Petty was apparently found overnight, unconscious and in full cardiac arrest. TMZ initially reported that Petty was rushed to the UCLA Santa Monica Hospital from his Malibu home, and was not breathing. First responders reportedly detected a pulse, but TMZ said “after Petty got to the hospital, he had no brain activity and a decision was made to pull life support.”

Petty’s most recent tour wrapped up just last week in California, with three concerts at the Hollywood Bowl. Launched back in April, this was being celebrated as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ 40th-anniversary tour. While Petty himself suggested that he didn’t want to perform huge tours like that anymore in the future, longtime guitarist Mike Campbell didn’t think his bandmate was serious about pulling off the road.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers issued their self-titled debut album in 1976, after several members played together for a few years as Mudcrutch. The Heartbreakers ultimately released 13 studio albums; the most recent of which, 2014’s Hypnotic Eye, became their first No. 1 LP.

Petty also released three solo albums over the years – including 1989’s debut Full Moon Fever, one of his bestselling records – and 2006’s Highway Companion, the most recent under his own name.

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Next: Top 10 Tom Petty Songs

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